The Best American Funds for 401(k) Retirement Savers

American Funds has 13 actively managed mutual funds among the 100 most popular 401(k) offerings. We look at the best American Funds in that group … as well as some of the laggards.

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(Image credit: Kiplinger)

We don't write about American Funds much on or in the pages of Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine. That's because these funds, which are managed by parent company Capital Group, are primarily sold through advisers.

For years, the funds charged a front-end load (to compensate those advisers), which made it ineligible for recommendation in our book – literally. Now, however, at some brokerage firms, you can buy a no-load share class for no transaction fee.


Returns and data are as of Nov. 11. In each review, we refer to the symbol, returns and expense ratio of the share class that is available to most investors. The reason for this is that the share classes of specific funds offered in 401(k) plans can vary, depending in part on the size of the plan.

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Nellie S. Huang
Senior Associate Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

Nellie joined Kiplinger in August 2011 after a seven-year stint in Hong Kong. There, she worked for the Wall Street Journal Asia, where as lifestyle editor, she launched and edited Scene Asia, an online guide to food, wine, entertainment and the arts in Asia. Prior to that, she was an editor at Weekend Journal, the Friday lifestyle section of the Wall Street Journal Asia. Kiplinger isn't Nellie's first foray into personal finance: She has also worked at SmartMoney (rising from fact-checker to senior writer), and she was a senior editor at Money.